Daily Graphic Story Exposes Bawumia’s US$2.5 Million Contract

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A Daily Graphic story, has revealed some interesting details about how VOKACOM, a local technology entity, was awarded the US$2.5 million contract to provide the digital platform for the roll out of the digital addressing system across the country.

The publication suggested the deal was cooked for the company and hence needn’t have to do any serious work, therefore the troubles with the system and the criticisms it’s receiving.

The revelation was made in an interview by no less a person than the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vokacom, Nana Osei Afrifa, which was published by the state-owned Daily Graphic on its internet portal on October 6, 2017 and written by Timothy Ngnenbe.

 According to the VOKACOM boss, his company was served the notice of award of the contract to carry out the project on September 14, this year, and the contract for the project was signed eight days later specifically on September 22, 2017 by the management of the company.

In between these, his company’s management, then met President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Cabinet members to give a briefing on the implementation schedules of the project.

Although, Nana Osei Afrifa, mentioned a competitive tendering process, but left out the companies VOKACOM had competed with.

Interestingly, while these were ongoing, the Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, had been tasked to do the pilot launch of the initiative in Accra on the World Postal Day, after which there will be a presidential launch later in the year.

It was at the World Postal Day that, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, traded his integrity, describing the system as the most innovative and unique project to be deployed in Ghana; better than what prevails in America, England and other developed countries.

Another amazing discovery made by The Herald on the system is that, as earlier as February 2017, the same Dr Bawumia announced the formation of two committees— a legal committee and technical committee— to undertake the necessary legal, logistical and financial consultation to design a road map for the implementation of the national addressing system.

This suggests, VOKACOM ,said to have some political clouts within the ruling party, had long been preparing to executive the US$2.5 million contract recently described by Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI Ghana and other Information Technology experts as shoddy, pirated, mediocre among other unpleasant descriptions.

Former President John Dramani Mahama, had also described the government’s newly launched Digital Addressing System, as pitiful.

According to him, the addressing system is fraudulent, and that someone must be punished for misusing state funds to procure the system.

“How can you launch a Google GPS system that is freely available on our mobile phone and say it is a national addressing system. It is such a pity. Why will you embarrass the president so much? You go and take a whole president to bring him to come and launch a system that is 419,” John Mahama said.

The former president made the statement in an address to thousands of party supporters in the Central Regional capital, Cape Coast, after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) held its third Unity Walk.

The former president, said he had restrained himself from commenting on governance issues after losing the presidential seat to the Nana Akufo-Addo, because he believed that every new government needed time to settle in office, but “it looks like NPP is whittling away its honeymoon period with the mistakes that it is doing.”

He called on the president to “show that he is serious about corruption” by holding someone accountable for the launch of the $2.5 million digital addressing system which he [Mahama] believes is fraudulent.

“When we talk about accountability, this is where the president should show that he is serious about corruption. Somebody must account for 15 million giving away free of charge.  When I was in office, there was a bus branding incident, GH¢3.6m, a minister of state resigned because of GH¢3.6m,” John Mahama said.

He, however accused the President of not being able to “take firm action in anything”.

The Digital Addressing System, christened,  Ghana Post GPS, which was launched on October 18, 2017, was part of the NPP’s ideas to formalizing the country’s economy by digitally mapping and proving a digital address to all locations and properties in the country.

The project was undertaken by Vokakom at a cost of $2.5million

Following its launch, many IT experts have cast doubt over the system, spelling out various flaws that make it a faulty tool to undertake the purpose for which it was built.

Among the flaws some have mentioned, is the over-reliance of the app on internet connectivity especially when internet penetration in the country is still low.

Below is the Daily Graphic’s interview with story the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vokacom, Nana Osei Afrifa entitled: “Vokacom wins contract for digital address system”..

Timothy Ngnenbe

06 October 2017

VOKACOM, a local technology entity, has been awarded the contract to provide the digital platform for the roll out of the digital addressiing system across the country.

The company will be partnered by the Ghana Post Comapny Limited to use the GPS system to undertake the project.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vokacom, Nana Osei Afrifa, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Accra, also said finishing touches were being put to the processes that would lead to the start of the initiative.

He said the company was served the notice of award of the contract to carry out the project on September 14, this year, after a competitive tendering process. The contract for the project was signed on September 22, 2017 by the management of the company.

He added that the company’s management then met President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Cabinet members to give a briefing on the implementation schedules of the project.

Collaboration

He explained that discussions were ongoing with the ministries of Tourism, Communication, Lands and Natural Resources, Information and other stakeholders to designate special names for unique landmarks and government buildings.

“When this digital addressing system is fully deployed, it will not only help to give accurate direction to specific locations, but will also help to track data on people for essential purposes. The banks do not have to go through the hustle of trying to locate their clients as is the case now, while the security agencies will also be able to trace crime scenes with ease,” he added.

Emergency response

Nana Afrifa said the first batch of “Asase GPS” had been supplied to Ghana Post, and that the equipment would be rebranded as Ghana Post GPS.
Throwing more light on the digital addressing system, he said unique codes would be assigned to each of the 10 administrative regions for easy direction.

“The unique codes will have between nine to 11 characters but a consultative process will be carried out with key stakeholders to standardise the characters. The first characters in the code will represent the region, the next one will be for the district, while the four characters that will follow will be the post code, with the individual’s unique address being the last set of characters,” he said.

Launch

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, will do the pilot launch of the initiative in Accra on the World Postal Day after which there will be a presidential launch later in the year. The national digital addressing system is to be officially rolled out across the country next month.

“Unique digital identification codes will be assigned to about 16.5 billon five-by-five metre square (M2) demarcations that have been designated across the country to facilitate the digital mapping process.

“A national address registry will be imbedded into the system to enable individuals to validate their home and business addresses for easy direction and identification purposes,” he said.

Background

In February 2017, Dr Bawumia announced the formation of two committees— a legal committee and technical committee— to undertake the necessary legal, logistical and financial consultation to design a road map for the implementation of the national addressing system.

Metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) and other state agencies such as the Ghana Water Company, Lands Commission and Ghana Post all have different systems for tracking and identifying properties, hinged on different technologies, but the Akufo-Addo government expressed intent to implement a digital addressing system and to harmonise all such systems into a single data resource to aid national planning and economic development.

Dr Bawumia, while addressing the National Policy Summit recently, stressed that the role of an address system in Ghana was mostly underestimated, but had the potential to be a key component for the growth of the economy.

 

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